2017 WFTDA D1 Playoffs: Dallas Preview

2017 WFTDA D1 Playoffs: Dallas Preview Photo credit: Regularman Photography. regularmanphotography.com/RollerDerby/The-Big-O-2017/

September 22nd through the 24th will be the third and final WFTDA Division 1 Playoff weekend. This final bracket will confirm the last four teams to qualify for the final tournament in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this November, and will also reveal the bracket seeding for Championships. With only three #1 seeds advancing, it will come down to this final tournament to see which #2 seed will get the coveted final bye spot.

Already headed to Philly are Rose City, Angel City, Montréal, and Rat City from Seattle while advancing from Malmö are Gotham, Denver, London, and Crime City. Seattle’s outcome was more of a surprise as the #5 and #6 seeds surpassed the #3 and #4 seeds, but Malmö concluded with the top for seeds leaving the way they entered the weekend. Dallas will have the widest WFTDA rankings gap between the top two seeds, #1 Victoria and #6 Texas, as well a the lowest ranked team that made it into Division 1 this year, #40 Wasatch.

Watch this tournament on WFTDA.tv and follow our coverage here on our website, or on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

#8 Philly Roller Derby vs #9 Arizona Roller Derby
Friday, 10am CDT/4pm BST/1am AEST

The #25-ranked Philly Liberty Belles started their sanctioned season on April Fool’s day with a 251-92 loss to Minnesota. That game seemed to be a trick because since then they seemed to have better and better results, possibly coming into this weekend slightly under ranked. At Tiny Tourney in Atlanta, they beat Tampa (#7 seed in Seattle) by 37 points, but then lost to Jacksonville and Atlanta (#5 seed in this bracket). After that, they had close games to Stockholm and Montréal but then took heavy losses to Texas and Rose City at SweatFest. Their last game was a rematch against Atlanta with similar results to Tiny Tourney, 200-147.

This season Philly retained most of the same skaters as last year but added Buenos D. Ass and Ke$ha later from Brandywine. However, they did lose long-time veteran skater Castro to retirement after ECDX. Two years in a row Philly had been knocked out of contention for Champs at the hands of Rat City, but this year they have more of an uphill battle to make it out at the top of the bracket at the #8 seed.

This will be the last season for #27 Arizona Roller Derby’s charter team to play as the Tent City Terrors, and they enter Dallas as the #9 seed after winning five games and losing one sanctioned game. They got all their games in at invitationals, first at Boardwalk Empire in April and then Besterns in June. Their one loss was a game against Santa Cruz (#7 seed in this bracket) by 78 points, and then beat Ann Arbor (220-100) and Kallio (160-158). Their latter three wins were by over 100 points each against Treasure Valley, Sac City, and Rocky Mountain. In between the two events, Arizona played Angel City in an unsanctioned game, losing 462-46.

Without Erica d’Entremont or R2Death2 in their jammer rotation this season, they still have Luz Chaos leading the way and added Stache Bot from Wasatch. The rest of their charter is mostly unchanged, with Blok N Dekher and Deez Nutz still knocking opposing jammers around. While this year they are headed to Playoffs with a higher rank, they’re also being seeded into a larger bracket. Last year they went to Vancouver as the bottom seed and finished 9th.

Philly and Arizona have never played each other before, and start the weekend as the closest seeding matchup. Flat Track Stats puts it at a 65% chance of Philly victory, but whoever wins will get to play the top seed, the Victorian Roller Derby Leauge later the same day at 6pm CDT (12am BST/9am AEST). The loser of this first game will play Saturday at 2pm CDT (8pm BST/5am AEST).

Photo credit: Michele J. Hale.

Photo credit: Michele J. Hale.

#7 Santa Cruz Derby Girls vs #10 Dallas Derby Devils
Friday, 12pm CDT/6pm BST/3am AEST

The Santa Cruz Boardwalk Bombshells are entering the Playoffs this weekend at their highest postseason rank yet at #19 overall. They rose this high after a 6-2 sanctioned season with a majority of their wins coming against teams who played lower in the D1 brackets already. They only lost by 12 points to Bay Area at the beginning of June, BAD’s first game of the season, and came within 50 of Seattle’s #7 seed Tampa. They also beat the #9 seed in this Bracket, Arizona, 184-106 at their own Boardwalk Empire event. In June, they wrapped up their charter’s season at Golden Bowl.

Their main jammer rotation of Taraism, Ace Wenchura, Queen Litigious, and Skirt Vonnegut from last season seems to be still intact, although they are missing CoraZone in the pack. A majority of their other main blockers are still around though, such as Shamrock N. Roller and Kosher Assault.

While Santa Cruz is on the way up, Dallas seems to be heading back down in the rankings a bit and earned their #10 seed ranked #34. They had been putting in the work and making their way up, nearly to the top ten last year, but a tough schedule shot the Army of Darkness back down a final 13 spots in June. After their first sanctioned game of the year brought them a 277-66 loss to this bracket’s #2 seed Texas, Dallas went to Sibling Rivalry in June and SweatFest in July. With a losing sanctioned season record of 0-5, they took on the #3, #4, #5, and #8 seeded teams in this bracket. The closest game they had was against Philly at SweatFest (209-185), leading them by nearly 60 points early on, but lost the lead due to penalties.

Dallas also retains most of the same skaters from last season, although missing Sparrow Dynamic from their jammer rotation, they’ve added Bayleigh Wheat, primarily a blocker in the past. Hannah Barbaric is no longer among their blocker lineup, but The Little Murdermaid is back after not participating in WFTDA Playoffs last season.

This matchup brings together one team with a mostly winning season and another who has yet to earn a sanctioned win in 2017. However, the strength of schedule may bring them together in a closer matchup than one might think, with Dallas possibly a bit under-ranked. The winner moves on to play #2 seed Texas at 8pm CDT (2am BST/11am AEST) on Friday, while the loser plays the next day at 4pm CDT (10pm BST/7am AEST).

#5 Atlanta Rollergirls vs #12 Wasatch Roller Derby
Friday, 2pm CDT/8pm BST/5am AEST

The #13-ranked Atlanta Dirty South Derby Girls played a long, tough season with games at Southern Discomfort, Tiny Tourney, and Sweatfest, resulting in a 9-4 record. They started with a string of wins, including a 182-175 victory against Montréal (the #3 place finisher in Seattle) before getting taken down by a single point at the hands of Rat City (Seattle’s 4th place finisher). Atlanta also faced the #10 seed Dallas (188-105) and #8 seed Philly (169-114), both resulting in wins, and took on Philly again later in the season with consistent results. Later on, Atlanta also took on this bracket’s #2 and #3 seeds, Texas and Arch Rival respectively, both resulting in losses by over 150 points.

With a few skaters transferring in, Ana Cheng from Tampa and R2Death2 from Arizona, Atlanta has only added to the arsenal of skaters who can jam for them. Slams McKenzie, Afro Dykee, and Trouble MakeHer return in the star from last season, with Instant Karma in the jamming mix as well. Baller ShotCaller is back on skates after an injury over the summer and can take on either role as a pivot. In the pack, she’s backed up by Blaque Jac, Queen Loseyateefa, and Madditude Adjustment.

Coming in ranked #40, Wasatch is the lowest ranked team to qualify for Division 1 after a few teams opted out or were ineligible. The last two seasons they played in D2 Playoffs, finishing 4th last year in Lansing. In April the Wasatch Midnight Terror lost to Tucson (D2 #2 seed) 225-149 but came back to beat them later on in the season by 32 points. At Besterns they lost to #31-ranked Rocky Mountain, a team who stepped back from Playoffs this year due to financial and venue restrictions, but then beat Kansas City, Tucson, and Boulder County. Their season ended 5-3, but their wins were over mainly lower ranked teams.

Wasatch has had a bit more coming and going in their roster, with Skull Candi transferring out to Blue Ridge towards the end of last season, Stache Bot moving over to Arizona this year. They have had some transfers in from Junction City, and maintain most of their jammer rotation from last season, but coming in as a #12 seed is going to be an uphill battle for them this weekend.

Atlanta has entered Playoffs #4 and left #4 the past three years, and now that four can go to Champs, they will still have to fight for a final spot as the #5 seed. The winner of this game will play first thing on Saturday at 10am CDT (4pm BST/1am AEST) while the loser plays at Noon CDT (6pm BST/3am AEST) on Sunday.

#6 Queen City Roller Girls vs #11 Houston Roller Derby
Friday, 4pm CDT/10pm BST/7am AEST

This season the Queen City Lake Effect Furies come to Division 1 Playoffs with their highest rank at #18 after marching their way through the rankings the past few seasons. A short and sweet season had them winning four games and losing one, a 233-130 game against Montréal in March. Next, they took on Steel City, and their 326-point win gave them a big rankings boost, followed by wins over D2 qualifiers Ohio and Boston. They wrapped up their sanctioned season with a 65-point win over Ann Arbor who was the #10 seed in Seattle.

With a fairly stable lineup from last season, Brick Hit-house, Low Hits Griffin, and Murphy will be reinforced in the pack by KonichiWOW. Coming full circle, she returns home after a long stint in Chicago with Windy City and then Montréal the past few years. Also transferring in is Crazy Squirrel from Tri-City and was top scorer of the entire D2 tournament last year in Lansing with 355 points in four games. She’ll jam alongside LiBRAWLian and inSINerator.

The #36-ranked Houston All-Stars return to Division 1 after a few seasons at D2 Playoffs, and also had a fairly brief season for their charter. Getting all their games in over two different weekends, they also ended with four wins and one loss. At Skate to Thrill in March, Houston beat D2 contenders Ohio and No Coast, with a much closer 56-point win over Ohio than Queen City (304-95). In June they rounded things out with their one loss being a 254-189 game against the Mad Rollin’ Dolls (#11 seed in Seattle) before beating Grand Raggidy 246-111.

Houston didn’t have Nikkity Split or Mad Cap’nCap in their rotation at BrewHaHa, but Slayer Moon still led their scoring in those two games with 73.9% lead jammer status. With her were EnJen and Diamond Cut-Her, as well as Arrak-kiss, a powerful jammer in their rotation. Long-time veteran Death By Chocolate still heads up their blocking contingent but can take the star as needed, and with her in the pack are Jekyll & Heidi and 2xForce.

Both Queen City and Houston were on the rise this season, but this matchup looks more favorable in the Furies’ favor. The winner will advance to a game with #3 seed Arch Rival Saturday at 12pm CDT (6pm BST/3am AEST), while the loser gets a day off to recover before playing Sunday at 2pm CDT. (8pm BST/5am AEST).

#1 Victorian Roller Derby League vs Winner of Philly/Arizona
Friday, 6pm CDT/12am BST/9am AEST

The Victorian Roller Derby League is not only the #1 seed this time around but also the #1 ranked WFTDA team in the world. They have notched many wins over the past few seasons and have emerged from their Playoff bracket as a #1 seed in 2015 and 2016, only finding defeat at Championships at the hands of either Rose City or Gotham. Again this year, Victoria beat Rose City during the regular season 187-123, avenging their 3-point loss to them in Portland.

Victoria’s sanctioned games were all played at the Big O in June, and there they already took wins against the #2 seed in this bracket Texas (187-77) and #3 Arch Rival (201-71). VRDL also beat Angel City 188-111, the one team that nearly took them out at Playoffs last season. After the Big O, Giles announced she was departing from Victoria and Australia and already played this Playoff season with Gotham. Her presence seemed reduced on the track at the Big O, possibly in anticipation of this move, so jamming was done primarily by Lady Trample, Sarah Chambers, and IvyK’nivey. There has been lots of buzz about Sandrine Rangeon playing with Victoria now, but she has only been seeing playing with their Notorious V.I.C.s this year and looks to be in New Zealand currently.

Victoria’s first game of the weekend will be Friday night against the winner of #8 Philly and #9 Arizona. VRDL faced Philly at Playoffs last year and beat them 258-61 and the last time Victoria played Arizona was at the Big O in 2013. Winning this first game has them playing the same time the next day against the winner of Game 7.

Photo credit: Michele J. Hale.

Photo credit: Michele J. Hale.

#2 Texas Rollergirls vs Winner of Santa Cruz/Dallas
Friday, 8pm CDT/2am BST/11am AEST

The WFTDA-ranked #6 Texas Texecutioners went to the Big O, Hometown Throwdown, and SweatFest, ending their season with six wins and five losses. Their losses came to Rose City (twice by about 100 points), London by two points, Angel City 201-120, as well as this bracket’s #1 seed, Victoria. They did beat #4 seed Minnesota by 60 points at the Big O, as well as Denver (195-162) who took 2nd place in Malmö. The Texies already took down #5 seed Atlanta and #8 seed Philly, making it look like Victoria will be their main focus for the weekend.

Olivia Shootin’ John and Freight Train took a majority of Texas’s points at the Big O, and filling out their four-jammer rotation were Nicki Ticki Timebomb and Gravy, Baby! Hauss the Boss didn’t play earlier this season but could be returning to the track for this weekend, while Bloody Mary and Fifi Nomenon retired after Championships last season. Smarty Pants can always take the star as needed but otherwise leads the pack as pivot with fellow USA Roller Derby skaters Jackie Daniels, Aja Gair, and Trauma.

Texas will play the last game Friday night against the winner of Game 2, either Santa Cruz or Dallas. Texas played Dallas first thing this season and beat them 277-66 and they have never played Santa Cruz before. Winning this game will take Texas to semifinals on Saturday against the winner of Game 8, #3 seed Arch Rival against the winner of Game 4.

#4 Minnesota RollerGirls vs Winner of Santa Cruz/Dallas
Saturday, 10am CDT/4pm BST/1am AEST

The Minnesota All-Stars dropped just outside of the top ten this season to #11 after their games this season at Big O and Sibling Rivalry, leading them to a 3-4 season record. They beat #8 seed Philly and #10 seed Dallas already but lost to #2 seed Texas 193-133. MNRG’s potential matchups look like they should be exciting ones, with the possibility of them taking on both the #5 and #3 seeds. Minnesota beat Seattle’s 4th place finisher Rat City by 83 points at the Big O, but lost to Malmö’s 2nd placer Denver 348-191.

Minnesota’s strength is their Great Wall of St. Paul made up of many veterans such as Diamond Rough, Scarmen Hellectra, Shiver Me Kimbers, and Hurtrude Stein. Their jammer rotation has a strong lineup of Brickyard and Jacked Pipes, but the third spot has been up for grabs the past few seasons. Earlier in the season, rookie Milham filled that spot, and they have often utilized pivots Secondhand Smoke or Hurtrude Stein. They also have had two skaters transfer in that could take the star as well, Shock Therapy (Rat City) or Switch Please (from DC).

Their first game could come against Atlanta, who Minnesota has shared many common opponents with this season and MNRG had better results against.  The bracket may lead them to a 3rd place game with their midwest foe, Arch Rival. They too have shared similar games this season, and Arch Rival has had better results with those games compared. Minnesota placed 2nd last year after defeating ARCH, and went to Champs as a #3 seed the two years prior.

Photo credit: Regularman Photography.

Photo credit: Regularman Photography.

#3 Arch Rival Roller Derby  vs Winner of Queen City/Houston
Saturday, 12pm CDT/6pm BST/3am AEST

#8 WFTDA-ranked Arch Rival earned their first trip to Championships two years ago, and have finished in 3rd place in their past two Playoff tournaments. Participating in The Big O and Sibling Rivalry, ARCH took four wins and four losses this season. They lost to #1 seed Victoria by 130 points in May and 2nd place finishers in their respective tournaments Angel City (212-112) and Denver (244-167). In August they also took wins over Jacksonville and #5 seed in this bracket, Atlanta.

Arch Rival’s jammer rotation has always worked with great depth as Swanson, Bricktator and Harmony Killerbruise have been mainstays the past few seasons, but this year Bolt Action has taken a stronger role in it. ARCH has also gotten Vicious Van GoGo since she left Gotham after Champs last season. Defensively, ARCH has shown their versatility with a strong, flat wall or rotate into a braced formation.

Arch Rival’s will get a break on Friday and their first game will be against either #6 seed Queen City or #11 Houston at Noon on Saturday. Advancing will pit them against the winner of Game 6, potentially #2 seed Texas, at 8pm CDT the same day.

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